Date: 12th August 2006 at 7:49pm
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Rovers rounded of their Pre-Season in style with a 5-0 demolition of New Zealand. Benni McCarthy and Jason Roberts both grabbed a brace, with Steven Reid also getting on the score sheet.

McCarthy would open the scoring with a curling effort into the corner of the goal after only 15 minutes to announce himself well and truly to the Ewood fans. A Steven Reid drive into the corner doubled the lead before half time. Just into the second half McCarthy would score his second, a superb effort that many a footballer would have been pleased with. Not to be outdone Jason Roberts would grab a pair of his own, his first reminiscent of his recent strike against Aachen, and his second in the dying embers of the game.

A near full strength Rovers side will be very happy with the result and the performance. McCarthy showing the home fans just why Mark Hughes has been so keen to sign the South African hit man for so long. More performances and goals like these and he will be in contention for the golden boot as well as possible signing of the summer.

The partnership with Jason Roberts again looked very good, so all is shaping up nicely as Rovers look to consolidate, if not improve on last season 6th place Premiership finish. Next up, Portsmouth away as the season kicks off for real next Saturday.

1st Half
The games first effort would fall to Benni McCarthy but his headed effort from a Steven Reid cross would fly just wide of the target.

An Andrew Barron free kick for New Zealand would prove the closest the visitors would come in the opening exchanges.

15 minutes into his first appearance at Ewood Park McCarthy would open the scoring with his curling effort. A ball out of defence from Lucas Neill found Michael Gray who brought the ball forward before passing into the box. As the Kiwi defence hesitated McCarthy did the rest. Rovers 1 New Zealand 0.

McCarthy would be involved with the next clear opportunity for Rovers, a one two with countryman Aaron Mokoena giving him the chance to extend the lead, but his effort would be deflected to the relative safety of a corner kick.

Shortly after the Mokoena chance another was fashioned. David Bentley passed to Jason Roberts who with great strength turned and passed to Reid who made no mistake driving into the left hand corner having arrived on the right. Rovers 2 New Zealand 0.

The ball would twice more find the back of the Paston`s net but both of Roberts` efforts would be ruled out. The first for a handball offence, the second as Roberts was ruled offside.

Half Time:
Rovers 2 New Zealand 0

Rovers – Benni McCarthy 15, Steven Reid 27
New Zealand –

2nd Half
Rovers Substitutions: 46 mins Todd (Off) Gallagher (On)

Less than two minutes into the second half would come the moment that would have the Rovers fans rubbing their hands together with delight with what they have to look forward to this season. McCarthy would get onto a long pass, flick it over the man marking him, and head the ball down before unleashing a fantastic left footed strike past the ‘keeper. Rovers 3 New Zealand 0

Rovers Substitutions: 60 mins Bentley (Off) Jeffers (On)

A case of third time lucky would see Roberts increase the Rovers lead further. Paul Gallagher`s pass over the defence found Roberts who neatly clipped the ball over the oncoming ‘keeper, with a goal similar to his one in Germany last weekend. Rovers 4 New Zealand 0.

With the game wrapped the final 20 minutes would see Hughes take the opportunity to change things around, making a number of changes, including the removal of the man of the match Benni McCarthy to a standing ovation.

Rovers Substitutions: 71 mins Gamst Pedersen (Off) Peter (On)
Rovers Substitutions: 71 mins Gray (Off) McEveley (On)
Rovers Substitutions: 80 mins McCarthy (Off) Kuqi (On)
Rovers Substitutions: 80 mins Savage (Off) Douglas (On)

Brad Friedel, back in goal following Jason Brown`s 90 minutes in midweek, had to make a couple of saves before the fifth and final goal of match in the last moments of the game from Roberts. Rovers 5 New Zealand 0

Full Time:
Rovers 5 New Zealand 0

Rovers – Benni McCarthy 15 & 46, Steven Reid 27, Jason Roberts 65 & 88
New Zealand –


– Friedel, Mokoena, Todd (c) (Gallagher 46 mins), Neill, Gray (McEveley 71 mins), Reid, Savage (Douglas 80 mins), Bentley (Jeffers 60 mins), Gamst Pedersen (Peter 71 mins), Roberts, McCarthy (Kuqi 80 mins)

New Zealand – Paston, Old, Hay (c), De Gregorio, Brown, James, Barron, Pritchett, Smith, Wilson (Fleming 56 mins), Banks (Urlovic 56 mins)


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